yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee

Barbeque at Hinson Springs

from the collection of Brenda Fiddler

September 13, 1940 Lexington Progress

This is My Column by W. V. Barry

It may not be to my credit to repeat an old story in which I was concerned, but there were some funny points about it which makes it almost irresistible to me--so here it is:

One Saturday many years ago the late Tom Bird, who met an accidental death in Memphis, came to me and asked if I didn’t want to take a little barbecue dinner at Hinson Springs the next day; that Kit Williams was going to barbecue a shoat, and of course, would have the bread, pickle, etc., with it, and here I digress to say something about Tom Bird.  He was the most expert man I ever saw handle a hammer and nails, and one day while he was working on my house, I asked him if he ever worked all day in his life, to which he replied, “One time,” and went on to tell that one time, in Texas, he was covering a house with shingles, and on the morning of July 3, he told the man who employed him that he wanted to get done that day so he could celebrate on the Fourth, whereupon the man told him, “I bet you $100 and your wages that you can't do it”--and Tom did it.  I have often wished that I could have seen Tom handle the hammer and nails on that 3rd day of July.  And by the way, carpentering seems to run in the blood of that family--and now back to the Sunday barbecue.

I had forethought to ask Tom what the cost would be, as I had with me Walter Lofton, a local boy and a printer named Peterson, who was just out of New Orleans a few days, as shown by his union card, and that mean 75c for the three of us, which on the final accounting amounted to $4.00, for the crowd had brought several gallons of liquor and a whole keg of beer, but I pledge my word that I was on the water wagon personally, drank nothing but spring water that day, as was the case with Peterson, but Walter Lofton missed no drinks as far as I could notice.

After the jollification was well on its way, the boys, some of them somewhat advanced in age, took to standing one at a time on his head under the spout of the spring, and when I saw them coming after me, I hung my new derby hat on a nail I saw in a tree, for I knew that resistance would be futile; however, Johnny Harmon and a man named Sears, who built the residence back of the Southern Methodist Church, got into a fight before reaching me, and thus I was saved.

One Arch Cox, who was a self-invited guest imbibed so freely that he lay flat on the ground with the root of a big tree for his pillow and somebody suggested that as Brother Cox had passed away, it was fitting to hold some sort of ceremony over his remains, so they marched around Arch and the tree singing, “Hark From the Tomb a Doleful Sound,” after which the suggestion was made that Brother Wes Brower lead in prayer, and Brother Brower knelt on one knee  by the right side of Brother Cox, but not for long, for the supposed deceased brother, using the flexor muscle of his right arm, then the extensor of the same member, knocked Brower further back than I ever saw another man fall and Arch’s arm dropped limply back by his side.

They devised one piece of fun which I had never seen before.  Billy Elkins was standing up right, another fellow got behind him, a fellow in front pushed Billy, the man behind humped his back, and Bill described a circle in the air, landing on his head in an old sow bed of leaves and sticks and there Billy lay.  We wondered if it was possible if his neck was broken.  Tom Bird brushed the leaves from Bill’s face and his eye lids fluttered when Tom shook him and asked, “Billie, are you hurt?” to which he replied, “No, but it gave me a hell of a jare.”

Back to my acceptance of the invitation, Sunday morning I dressed in my best, dropped in the store now occupied by the Elk Drug Store and bought me an E. & W. collar and cuffs for the price of 60c.  The only real part I took in the occasion was helping to eat the barbecue dinner and being knocked down into a blue muck, just covering my 40c linen cuffs.

There was enough noise made to bring from people who lived nearby a threat to indict the entire crowd which I guessed should have been done.

Speaking of Kit Williams, he was not only the best hand to barbecue meat in Henderson County, he was an incorrigible drunkard and spent enough money on fines in Lexington to pay for a farm.  Between drinks he was a successful farmer and money-maker--and there once went the rounds of the newspapers of this country the phrase, “and there were others.”

If we men should take the advice to never engage in conversation that could be repeated in the presence of modest ladies there would be a slight less talking done--and that advice no reasonable man can dispute being good.  This statement leads on to the question whether there is or should be a double standard of morals.  In practice there is a double standard while it is not in keeping with the commandments, it is fortunate for the world that it is so.

It is a well known fact that even men of loose morals and practice, require in women an unpreachable code and moral, and while this seems to be less demand than in former years, yet it is possible the salvation of the world and should men recede from this demand, there might be brought on a condition of morals which would astound the world--a condition which might equal that of the Biblical picture of Sodom and Gomorrah.  So to put this sermon in a nutshell, no immoral man is any better from a Christian standpoint, than an immoral woman--so wash your mouth to cleanse out the last smooty story you have told, resist the fun in telling one and don’t tell any more.

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